Issue 24: from Southern vaccines to Chinese tech ascendancy
Renewable geopolitics, COVAX, new COVID-variants, China's technology and geothermal
Welcome to this week’s issue of the Anti-Apocalyptus newsletter. Each week I send you five links about some of the most important challenges of our time such as climate change, weapons of mass destruction, emerging technologies, mass causes of death and great power wars. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to subscribe at the button below, hit the heart button or share this email with anyone who could be interested.
In this edition I’m kinda moving away from Western politics. The past editions had a heavy burden of stories about the US and Europe. So today there will be a more global approach, from the geopolitics of renewables to how we’re gonna vaccinate the Global South.
Financial Times - How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics
Great longread about how the transition to renewables, which is speeding up, is impacting international politics. Our global order has always been intertwined with energy infrastructure, and now that we’re moving away from fossil fuels onto renewable energy sources, that implies a shake-up of that order. This article, which includes some interesting visualisations, details that transition.
A good explainer of COVAX, an initiative to buy vaccines for countries in the Global South. Vaccines have in large measure been bought by richer countries, leaving out large stretches of the world, such as Sub-Sahara Africa. This Global South is probably going to be the next COVID-19 battleground because as long as parts of the world cannot vaccinate, the virus can keep spreading there, and possibly keep mutating.
We’re seeing new variants of COVID arise across the world, some of which are more resistant to vaccines. This is worrying, and requires us to push down the case numbers everywhere as fast as possible. Additionally new mRNA vaccines could in theory be developed very fast for new strains, but that would require updates to our regulatory and production infrastructure.
Interesting podcast interview with researcher Dan Wang. Wang is one of the key people I follow on Chinese technology, and the ever evolving tech-conflict with the US (his 2019 letter is quite interesting). The interview goes into Chinese tech self-sufficiency, growth and the evolution of the country’s innovation ecosystem.
Good introduction from Wired into geothermal energy. This renewable energy source generates electricity by digging down, and using the heat produced by the earth. This is an often underestimated form of renewables, that could, given some technological advances, produce constant renewable energy. Yet it also still runs into issues, none the least that it could cause earthquakes.
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